Two Letters Re: Hunting for Food

Mr. Rawles,
I read the recent post on hunting for survival. The author didn’t mention some of the most nourishing parts of the deer, the bone marrow! Full of fat and very tasty, it should be removed from the bone and eaten or mixed with some salt, dried berries and dried meat, pounded into a flour, made into Pemmican, it keeps well and is light to carry and very nutritious.

The tongue, head meat, kidneys, heart, liver, spleen, lungs, leg bones with their marrow are also fine to eat or added to stew. When food is short you cannot afford to waste good food. Even the brains are good eating [in regions where CWD is not found] or can be used mixed with water to tan the hide.

Deer bones can be made into arrow points and digging tools.

There are many other things out there that are edible: rodents, birds, scorpions, reptiles insects and grubs and of course, cattail roots, thistle stems and many other plants.

You have a great site that is full of good information. – Sheila from the Coast of Oregon

Recently, Conover wrote to explain why hunting for deer and large hoofed animals won’t work for the long term. I agree with him completely.

My father was a child during the Great Depression living on a farm in the then very rural Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. For some years my grandmother’s adult brothers lived with them before starting their own households. They were all legendary shots and hunters. The family saying was: “A [20 cartridge] box of .30 Remington had better well equal 20 deer.” That wasn’t for bragging rights. Rather, that simply was the way things were in those desperately cash-strapped days.

One summer (yes, if you wanted meat the strict rules of hunting seasons went by the wayside) my grandmother cooked 17 entire deer. She said the smell of venison started to make her sick but being of good stock she persevered. My father told me that by the middle of the Depression his father and uncles had to drive over 20 miles before they could even start hunting since all deer were gone from the local area (our county has huge areas owned as state game lands, a saving grace).

By the time I came to age in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the deer were once again plentiful. And now they are even a nuisance. But like Conover stated, that won’t last long once the hunting pressure is applied.

Far better and more stable results can be obtained from raising rabbits in outdoor hutches and maybe a few chickens in the garage. For myself, in semi-rural Virginia, I’m preparing for the possibility of joining my wife in vegetarianism since beans simmering in a pot require a lot less expendable energy and are a lot easier to hide then animal husbandry or moving about attracting the notice of others. Perhaps an occasional piece of Smithfield smoked ham (no refrigeration needed, shelf life forever?) to chase around the bean pot might have to do for as long as it takes.